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The U, Video, 80 civil servants & the Royal Commissioner in a Factory

We were in one of the oldest factories in The Netherlands with 80 civil servants from a Province. Six groups in six tents in a crosscut of the organization have been desiging and realizing their future.

My colleagues Wim and Michiel interviewed the last week their keystakeholders and put them on video. Wim has been terrible busy to edit 4 hours of footage into videos of 4, 10 and 2 minutes. The result is marvellous again. He knows how to bring the outside world in the room. What is special is that everybody perceives different elements. When you start sharing what you’re seeing the picture of the outside world becomes complete.

During the preparation (we started only 3 weeks ago) I felt like being part of a grassroots movement. I didn’t talk to managers, directors or anyone in the official hierarchy. That was something new to me. The enthusiasm and the dedication of the organizers convinced me to give it a go (although I called them ‘burgerlijk ongehoorzaam’ (something like: ‘politically not correct’), but they disagreed). So Michiel and Wim interviewed in- and outside stakeholders, together we designed the program, we organized a prep meeting to clarify the agenda to the internal co-facilitators, booked a hotel in an area where no civil servant dared to go after 20.00 hours and I became terribly sick for a few days.

It all turned out very well and exceeded the expectations. First observing and discussing the videos and the key challenges, appreciative inquiry to search for inspiration in the key change areas, some theory U like 4 levels of listening and the voices that prevent you to deepen your relation (without the use of the U!), a journaling practice borrowed from Arthur Zajonc and building prototypes in and between the tents. For the breaks Michiel selected the right ‘minimal house beach party music that urges you to move.’ But that was a bit much for our government officials: “Can you maybe turn down the music just a bit, although it’s great?”

The Royal Commissioner was not expected to come (it was a grassroots movement as I said) but heard of the meeting Friday afternoon and felt that it would be good to show his face and share his commitment. So to the surpirse of everybody he showed up. It was the cherry on the pudding for the organizers…

 

For us it was a very rewarding experience, great to co-create with our UNOO team and the organizers.

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